Restoration, Part I

The season has shifted, and now it’s time for me to tell you about all the good things the Lord has done and is doing.

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In July of 2017, I had been in the San Diego area for about a year, and, as horribly as everything was going at that point (see https://pellucere.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/pellucere-and-th…d-very-bad-years/), I had reconciled myself to the idea that this was now home.  But one night, I pulled up Google Maps and began looking at all the places I loved in Alaska, and I started to weep.  I went into a vision, where the Lord showed me myself hunched over a grave in the Mat-Su Valley in AK.  In the grave was Alaska itself. He said my dream had been murdered and I needed to mourn, specifically that I needed to “sit shiva.”

For those of you who don’t know, sitting shiva is the Jewish practice that symbolizes the mourner being “brought low” following the loss of a loved one.  It has a specific time frame and many guidelines, so I immediately asked the Lord how I was supposed to implement all that.  He smiled and said it was less about the ritual and more about deliberately putting myself in the frame of mind to actively mourn.  So I took off for a friend’s place in Phoenix, locked myself in her guesthouse for 4 days, and let the Lord take me through it.  I cried some but mostly rested and wrote and enjoyed the Arizona monsoon season. (Is there anything more soothing than a violent thunderstorm? Not in my book!) On probably day 3, the Lord took me back into the vision, back to the grave, and I saw him absorb it into himself, which I understood, and then absorb me into himself, which I did not.  I went back to California feeling like I had set down a heavy weight.

Fast-forward to 2018.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post (https://pellucere.wordpress.com/2018/05/12/my-cup-filleth-up/), the Lord gave me “restoration” as one of my words for the year.  Apparently a LOT of people got this word because all of a sudden, I started hearing it everywhere.  Right after the new year, the Lord took me back to that same valley where the grave used to be. But as he stood there, he became a portal. He shimmered like a transporter beam, and then I could see his outline but his center became clear, and it was the same valley I was standing in but inside him. I understood that I had mourned what was dead, that I was still in him, and that this was an invitation to restoration. He called Alaska “Lazarus” and invited me to walk through the portal.  And I did.

Now, as far as how that was going to play out in the “real” world, well, I had no clue.  I figured I’d find a job before M and I drove up.  I thought we’d stay in a hotel for a couple of weeks until I got a paycheck or two, at which time we’d find a house and get our stuff out of our storage unit.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with M until school started, but I figured I’d cross that bridge when I came to it.  And God laughed indulgently…

In my mind, I always saw us in a cozy little house until J was released to Alaska.  I saw J walking up a gravel driveway with no baggage, ready to come home at that time, but in the interim, M and I needed to be able to spread out, set up our art stuff and our drums, and just rest.  I looked on Craigslist and Zillow, just to keep tabs on the market, and one day in May, I found the cutest little leaf-green 3/2 ranch.  It really jumped out at me, but at that point, I still wasn’t sure when we were leaving San Diego, and nothing stays on the market long in Alaska, so I didn’t give it much thought.  Eventually, it disappeared off Zillow.  And then in mid-June, it reappeared, ready to rent beginning in July.  J and I talked, and we got this crazy idea to apply for it, even though I wasn’t working and he had rent to pay in Colorado.  We had the lease within 2 days, rented sight-unseen.  Now M and I have been here a month, and it is absolutely perfect for us.  Quiet, peaceful, facing the Talkeetna Mountains, it’s a restful haven, except when Little Drummer Boy is banging on his kit. 😀  And it has a gravel driveway.

The restoration continues.  M and his best friend have picked up their relationship right where they left off 2 years ago.  We had talked about getting another cat, preferably a Maine Coon, one day…and then we went to the animal shelter, and this tiny kitten launched himself at my shoulder and would not let go.  So we now have Bean, and guess what? He’s a Maine Coon.  We have the ultimate Alaska neighbors, who have already shown M how to fillet salmon and taught him to ride a 4-wheeler.  And I’m feeling better healthwise than I have in years.  I know there’s so much more just ahead, and I am so excited about this new season.  Be encouraged, y’all.  The Lord does not forget his promises, and even when it doesn’t look ANYTHING like what you think it should (and let’s face it; that’s pretty much always), he is faithful to restore the years the locusts ate.  If you’re still waiting to see those promises fulfilled, hang in there. Call for restoration; stand on it.  It’s coming!

To be continued…

My Cup Filleth Up

The Lord really does do what he says he’s going to do.

There’s a story in the Bible (see Mark 9:14-29) about a man who brings his demon-possessed son to Jesus and basically says, “If you could do anything to fix this, that would be great.”  Jesus looks at him somewhat incredulously (implied by the use of the most emphatic form of “if” in the Greek) and says, “What do you mean, ‘if’? IF you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.”  The dad hears this, and according to one translation, says, “I do believe…now help my weakened faith.”   And let me tell you, often I relate to this guy more than any other character in the Bible.  Because I DO believe the Lord, just…weakly at times.  I want to be this powerhouse believer, never wavering, never feeling nervous, never questioning, but I’m more likely to be the one saying, “Yeah, God, I know you’re perfectly capable of doing ______, but are you actually gonna?”

Sigh.

Such was the case when I went to Denver over my birthday weekend.  I had a lot of expectations of the Lord because he had been shouting “REDEMPTION! REDEMPTION! REDEMPTION!” over the 6th of May since the start of the year.  I just didn’t have a lot of optimism that J was in line with all of it because there have been sooooo many times where I was hopeful, and my hope dropped like a bird shot out of the sky in the face of whatever mess J was dealing with at the time.  But I resolved to trust God regardless of how shaky I felt, and I went – this trip was the Lord’s idea to begin with, so once I said yes, I committed to it with everything I could.

And it was a fantastic weekend.

It was a little awkward at first; plus, flying sucks these days, so who’s really ever super-happy after stepping off an airplane?  But I had a great, blessedly quiet hotel room – we both agreed that a neutral space would be better than me staying with J – and after getting a good night’s sleep, I felt a little more optimistic.  We spent the whole of Friday driving through the Rocky Mountains, stopping whenever we wanted to, eating good food, and having good conversation.  We really enjoyed each others’ company, and by Saturday night, I felt a physical and psychic shift. (Have you ever had that happen?  Where you feel like your reality has literally been picked up and moved over a couple of inches and it takes you a second to recalibrate yourself?)  We sat in the hot tub at my hotel, and J poured out his heart to me.  Sadly, I couldn’t hear most of it because of the VERY loud children in the pool, but I could feel the truth and the sincerity of what he was saying.  I didn’t tell him that until after we had gotten out, though. 😀

The bottom line is: things are not what they were.  The old truly has passed away, and all things are made new.  We’re still in the process, but we are watching God’s promises unfold before us.  How gracious is he that our little, tiny, weakened faith is enough for him to work with?  I am so very optimistic for our future now!

The rest of the story in Mark finds the disciples asking Jesus why they couldn’t cast the demon out of the boy, and he told them that kind couldn’t come out except by prayer.  I say that to say this: if you need to see God move in a situation, PRAY.  And give him your little, tiny, weakened faith, and let him take it from there.  Don’t try to demand the hows or wheres or whens.  Let him do it.  If he says he will, he will.

Also, M and I are planning to move back to our beloved Alaska this summer, with J to follow when the Lord releases him to (at which time my cup shall overflow).  How this came about is for another post, but I will say that it is well in line with the words the Lord gave me for 2018: restoration, equilibrium, and tabula rasa.  I’ve applied for pretty much what seems my dream job, so hopefully I’ll have even more good news to share soon.

He’s so good, y’all.  He really is.

Unlucky #13, Huh? Hold That Thought.

Today is my 13th wedding anniversary.  It’s supposed to be a fun-filled, celebratory time, and it’s not.  Instead, this anniversary has served to bring to the forefront – yet again – something that reeeeeeeally needs to be different going forward.

I’m a little bruised, a little sad, a little angry.  I’ve stayed in bed reading all day, though in retrospect, my book choice, Chris Perez’ To Selena, With Love, probably hasn’t done my mood any favors.  I’m going to eat my soon-to-be-delivered panang curry, and then I’m probably going back to bed, where I will watch really dumb YouTube videos and ignore everything else except my son, who is wonderful and growing into a very responsible young man.  And eventually, I will sleep, and then, said in my best Scarlett O’Hara voice, tomorrow is another day.

And I won’t stop believing that the Lord is, even now, working behind the scenes on my behalf.  I will stand on this truth until the day I die, knowing that it never won’t be the case.  Even this present darkness (see Ephesians 6:12) will eventually disappear in the light.  One of these days, things are gonna get good, and I’m here for that.  Things are going to be different, and I’m definitely here for that.  In the meantime, I remember that the Lord gave me “restoration” as one of my words for this year, and I know that even today is not beyond His reach.  Post title notwithstanding, I don’t actually believe in luck or lack thereof:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.
                            – Because He Lives, by Bill and Gloria Gaither